Exhalted or Humbled

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:10-11
“But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I love football and I must admit that I am a huge college and pro football fan. Like many of you, I watched the Super Bowl last night, and as always we see the images of numerous celebrities and “important” people throughout the game. Many of these people are in the luxury suites that this year sold for $163,385 for the Super Bowl game. To watch the game from this venue, you must either be wealthy or a person of some importance and influence, or have the necessary connections.

Throughout the game the cameras gave us a glimpse of who was in the luxury suites. The people there ranged from a former United States President and other government officials, pro athletes, and several famous actors and actresses. Many of these people want to be seen at the big game and the network cameras obliged them, and us, by giving us a glimpse of their view of the game. Now I am not judging these people, because I myself would certainly like to sit in one of those luxury suites and watch a Super Bowl game and enjoy the amenities of the luxury suites, just once.

The Super Bowl did not exist in Jesus’ time but Jesus knew that people desired to sit at the head table, at the most important and visible places. That is certainly true in our society today, we want to be seen and recognized and we want to feel important. We want to be acknowledged for our achievements and for becoming successful, at least by the standards that the world measures success.

Jesus however, came to turn this world that we live in upside down. From the gospel of Luke we read that if you exalt yourself you will be humbled. But if you humble yourself first, then you will be exalted. Being humble includes looking out for those in our society that are less fortunate than we are. It also involves putting the interests of others before our own selfish interests. It most certainly is the giving of our time and money and skills to help those children of God that need our help and our voice.

One of the beatitudes in Matthew (5:5) says; “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Many people have understood the meek to be defined as those who are quiet or non-aggressive. Our society views someone that is meek as being weak or spineless. This beatitude is first heard in Psalm 37:11: “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” The New International Bible study notes suggests that the meek are those who “humbly acknowledge their dependence on the goodness and grace of God and betray no arrogance toward others.”

Being humble or meek can save us from pride, from looking down on other people. It can also help to prevent us from becoming self-righteous. True meekness involves “not my will but your will be done.”

A seminary professor of mine once told us that true meekness “is a mandate and a mark of a true disciple.” He said that a Christian who is meek is “someone that is available to do the will of God, they are not weak.”

Jesus reminds us in our text today that if we put our self-importance ahead of others, there will be a day in which we will be humbled. However, if we continuously strive to put the needs of others first and serve our fellow human beings, then we will be exalted and given life eternal in God’s coming kingdom.

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